Yesterday, over 80 people came together to prepare for u.lab starting next week at the aptly named “Hub” in Edinburgh. It was great to see some familiar faces from last year, and even more new ones of people taking part for the first time.
The ulabscot holding team hosted an experiential day, based around the U, where we could explore our reasons for taking part in u.lab together and make connections with each other.
We started with a quick recap on the ulabscot journey so far and then Karen Lawson hosted a few rounds of “Brief Encounters” – in pairs, we had a few minutes to introduce ourselves and discuss what brought us here and what was driving us. Then, in small groups, Karen and I led a session to go a bit deeper into our intentions by each taking a turn to tell our story of either what was the most significant change u.lab had for us or what change we feel part of and our aspirations for u.lab. Many people were generous enough to share their stories by drawing or writing them on one of the templates provided. We will be sharing them more widely over the next few weeks.
Then Kuladharini took us on an energetic, reflective and very funny session that helped us tap into other ways of knowing that involved minimal amounts of talking. To help us digest our experiences in the morning, Lisa Murphy led us in a breathing space and Steve Earl took us through a guided journaling exercise.
Packed lunch were provided so that people could take part in a dialogue walk if they wished. Many took up the opportunity although it became a dialogue lunch rather than walk as it was raining outside! And then the afternoon was open for people to suggest topics for small discussion groups, with Peter Ashe organising the mechanics of it. These topics ranged from u.lab Nuts & Bolts to Education: what is it and what is it good for?; Representation Diversity in Public Life to what’s it like trying to do Theory U in national and local government.
Overall, we may have provided a bit of structure but it was a very inspiring day because of the people who came along and participated so fully and openly. There was also a sense that we were all part of something bigger that made me even more excited about what may emerge for ulabscot as we take this next step together. Angie filmed the day and we’ll share her handy work as soon as we can so, hopefully, you can get a sense of the day for yourself.
Are you registered for u.lab yet? Find out how here.